Many employers ask job applicants to submit resumes. These brief yet important documents provide employers with more context to work with in regard to your skills and your expertise.
Resumes often lean on an applicant’s previous experience at other jobs as well. But writing a resume can feel daunting if you are just getting started and you have no prior work experience.
But try not to worry. Take a look at these strategies that can help you create a compelling resume even if you do not have any work experience.
What to put on a resume with no experience
Work experience isn’t the only thing you can put on a resume. You can fill your resume with other valuable details that can help you stand out from other applicants.
Select a suitable resume format
You don’t need work experience in order to craft a great resume, but you do need to make use of an appealing formatting style. Job recruiters do not want to read through several paragraphs back-to-back on a resume.
Recruiters may look at dozens of applications per day, and they might not have the patience to read a long resume that is poorly formatted. Dividing information into sections in your resume and using bullet points can make your resume more visually appealing. But let’s explore even more ways that you can put your resume in a better position.
Include contact details
Include your name, title, email address and phone number. Some applicants also choose to provide their physical addresses, but this is not necessary in most cases.
Talk about your interests and insights
Recruiters won’t always have the patience to read lengthy paragraphs. Try to keep this section under five sentences, and ensure that you only include the most valuable details.
State your education
List your highest level of education. Use this section to demonstrate your primary area of study as well. Doing so can improve your chances if the recruiter is from your alma mater or the job you are applying for is relevant to your area of expertise.
Pinpoint your experience
List your employment history and other work experience, along with how many years you spent holding each of your prior or current employment positions. You can still capitalize on this part of your resume if you do not have work history by discussing life experiences that relate to the job rather than focusing on past job experience.
Mention your skills
Use this small section to list the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for. You can always adjust this part of your resume to align with each job opportunity you apply for, but make sure you always create space between each section. Bullet points and different font sizes can make your resume more skimmable, resulting in an easier read for the recruiters as well.
Highlight your education
The education section allows you to showcase your highest level of education, what you studied at that time and other pertinent details regarding your educational background. Including your GPA can help you secure certain jobs, but most employers won’t require that you list this detail.
You should also list any extracurricular activities that you participated in, should this apply to you. These activities can demonstrate additional commitment and skill sets that may improve your odds of being hired.
The education section can also include any and all online certifications that you have earned. If you took an online coding class and received a certificate for it, you may want to consider including it as part of your resume.
List your experiences
The experience section helps recruiters understand your background as well as your ability to handle the tasks associated with the job at hand. While many applicants interpret the experience section as referring to previous employment, you can also use other types of experience to strengthen your resume.
You can draw from the following sources to amplify your list of experiences:
- Volunteer work
- Related classes
You can list various experiences even if you do not have work history. These experiences will still show a recruiter that you can fulfill the expectations of the role and become a valuable part of the company.
Match your skills to the job
Listing skills on your resume is one way to tell recruiters all about how you can contribute to the company and fulfill your role as an employee. You don’t need work experience in order to list the skills that you have.
Learning about subjects related to your career and applying yourself in multiple areas will help you expand your skill set. You should list skills that are related to the job opportunity you are applying to.
Since the skills section takes minimal effort to fill out, it’s easier to adjust your resume based on each job opportunity. You can use the following skills to strengthen your resume:
- Effective listening
- Writing skills
- Presentation skills
- Computer skills
Soft skills, such as listening and communicating, can help everyone, no matter their career. You don’t need work experience to have these skills. Also, you can develop soft skills in casual settings, but feel free to conduct research if you are interested in developing these skills with intention.
Emphasize what makes you unique
Recruiters look through numerous applications on a daily basis. They will first see your name, contact information and a wall of text. With unique skills, you can help yourself stand out from the other applicants.
These qualities can help a recruiter remember you as more than just a name and a phone number, which can improve your odds of making it to the next stage of the hiring process. Listing unique skills can increase your value and make you more relatable, too. For instance, bilingual applicants can communicate with a broader range of clients, which is a helpful skill for customer-facing roles.
Incorporating your hobbies as part of your resume can make your application feel more personal. Additionally, the recruiter might favor your application if they happen to have hobbies similar to yours or they know someone who shares the same hobbies.
For example, hobbies such as triathlons can demonstrate your ability to commit to the process of achieving a goal. Ultimately, hobbies are a tool that provides greater insight into the type of person that you are.
A great resume can get you closer to your next job
Taking an hour out of your day to create an effective resume will repay you in great dividends later on in the future. Recruiters will be impressed with your application and the work samples you provide.
If you have not updated your resume for a few months, making certain changes can put you in a stronger position in terms of being hired for a job. You don’t at all need work experience in order to write a great resume. You just simply have to demonstrate your ability to effectively perform tasks related to the job.
What skills should I put on my resume if I have no skills?
You can use soft skills, such as effective listening and communication, to strengthen your resume.
What should I put on my resume for my first job?
You should include your education, extracurricular activities, skills and hobbies. The recruiter will look at your resume to assess if you are the right fit for the job based on these details.
What is a good headline for a resume?
A good headline should include your professional experience and highlight your top skills.